Harbinger of Spring

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Harbinger of Spring


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Old 03-10-2014, 22:56   #1
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Default Harbinger of Spring

I'm sitting here at the computer with all the windows opened. It's March 10th and last week we were still in the grips of the arctic blasts.

Outside my window I can hear a cardinal singing. This is not its usual winter-time clicking call, but it's spring territorial song. I can also hear a chickadee and, of course, the house sparrows. I don't know where the birds go when it gets cold, but they are out and about now.

When the snow melted from one of the flowerbeds, there appeared an inch or so of daffodil leaves. And there are one or two bugs flying around.

This is not to say we won't have another snowstorm and arctic freeze, but Spring is definitely on its way.

Hurrah!

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Old 03-10-2014, 23:20   #2
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I was awakened early by a female cardinal flying against the large window in my bedroom which she spent about 5 hrs doing. How can I differ the two calls you speak of? She had a 6 sound and a two sound after. It looks as tho' they may be nesting…it's 71F here today. Can you give me a site which might help me know about the calls?




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Old 03-10-2014, 23:33   #3
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I recall those days, finally welcoming signs of spring to have them dashed ruthlessly the next week by 5 days of below-freezing high temps. (Formerly of MN and IL)

As I sit in my house cursing the sound of the scrub jays in the morning through my open-all-night window, I still smile.

Even as I wonder how on earth we will survive the drought, with my orange tree blooming and threatening to produce a second crop of grapefruit-sized fruit this "winter."

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Old 03-11-2014, 00:06   #4
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It made it up to 50 degrees here today, and now it has started to drop back down. Word has it that we're supposed to get a horrible snowstorm this Wednesday.

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Old 03-11-2014, 00:11   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patdart View Post
I was awakened early by a female cardinal flying against the large window in my bedroom which she spent about 5 hrs doing. How can I differ the two calls you speak of? She had a 6 sound and a two sound after. It looks as tho' they may be nesting…it's 71F here today. Can you give me a site which might help me know about the calls?
The male and female cardinals make clicking sounds a lot during the winter, and maybe a song of a few notes. But when the male begins to act territorial, he ends his song with a long trill. I don't hear that trill during the winter but always in spring and summer.

There is a site, Cornell University (I think). I'll do a search and give you a link. I've used it many times - pictures of the birds, and several recordings of songs.

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Old 03-11-2014, 00:16   #6
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Here you go: Northern Cardinal, Sounds, All About Birds - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Here's their bird guide: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search.aspx

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Old 03-11-2014, 02:32   #7
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We had one of our resident woodpeckers hammering on a window yesterday and our cardinals are active now too . . . haven't seen any bluejays yet, but they're bound to be here. Today's high temperature was 73°. I do hope this is the end of winter!

We try to keep healthy habitat for them around the yard and one of their favorites is an old bedstead that over the years has become completely engulfed with honeysuckle vine. The cardinals have nested in there for years. Any dense undergrowth is fair game. We also have an enormous quince bush a little farther away from the house where more feathered friends keep house.




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Old 03-11-2014, 05:30   #8
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I have over a dozen purple martins so far and getting more daily. Have housing available for 52 pair. And the scouts even came a few days earlier than normal.

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Old 03-11-2014, 05:36   #9
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Shanny, do the woodpeckers do any damage? My knowledge of woodpeckers comes from cartoons - good old Woody Woodpecker!

We have Sulphur Crested Cockatoos come through occasionally and although they look and sound very cute they are very destructive little devils chewing through verandah and fence palings etc., anything wooden is fair game.

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Old 03-11-2014, 05:51   #10
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I think they could become a real nuisance if we didn't have so many trees surrounding the house. As it is, they get feisty when spring arrives & start fighting their reflections in the windows - showing off for the females, I suppose. It usually only lasts a few days, and then they're off to the trees where there are actually bugs to be found in the bark.

We have five mature oak trees right close to the house, and at least that many more around the yard, so there's no shortage of forage for them. And these aren't the big pileated woodpeckers . . . mostly what we have are the downy and the hairy, plus an occasional red-belly.




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